Stress Coping Strategies (III)
However at present, Kadria is faced with a lot of stressors. First, she is battling with a long standing wound on her right feet which has refused to heal.
The wound was as a result of a fall she experienced when she slipped from the staircase of her home. Two months ago, it was confirmed that Kadria is diabetic.
Next, the news of the sudden death of her only brother, Umar in the hands of terrorist began to assail our good-natured lady.
Meanwhile, for the past two years, Kadria had battled with the challenge of getting her daughter, Amina to overcome truancy on campus. Which of these three sources of stress is the most disturbing and damaging to Kadria?
Coping with or managing stress involves discovering the source. In the case of Madam Kadria, the three challenges are all distressing, disruptive and dangerous to her health but one of them is a major thorn in her flesh. Both outsiders and Kadria may not easily identify which is this major stressor.
Therefore, it is necessary to seek professional help to identify or discover the particular stressor, which is fuelling the accompanying psychosomatic illness in Kadria’s life.
The reasons for seeking to identify the stressor or the main stressor is to facilitate accurate diagnosis and treatment. Often people demonstrate lack of knowledge about their health status. At other times, they engage in denial of their problems. In the process trying to cover-up or be strong, the result is falling prey to deeper psychological health problems.
Next, stress victims need to examine and cross-examine their personal stress coping mechanisms. By nature, every creature is endowed with a protective mechanism, which facilitates survival. Consequently, one needs to raise dispassionate questions such as — how have I been coping with the stressors in my life? What are my survival strategies? How naturally do I respond to stressors in my life or environment? The right answers to these questions will enable one to determine whether the responses are effective or maladaptive.
In other words, are the coping strategies I am using helpful or destructive? Are they reducing or complicating my health challenges? Do I need to change or continue with my survival strategy?
One of such unhealthy and destructive strategies people engage in is involvement in self-medication. They find it easy to walk into a chemist shop, usurp the jobs of doctors and pharmacists, diagnose their illnesses as well as prescribe drugs for themselves.
Sleep inducing and malaria drugs are among the notorious medium people misuse. The result is normally complication of the situation.
Biofeedback is one of the successful coping strategies of stress. Basically it involves being connected to an electrical device, which helps one to receive information (feedback) about one’s body (Bio). This feedback information helps one to make wise decisions on the right action or behaviour.
Dr. Amaraegbu, a clinical psychologist lives in Lagos.firstname.lastname@example.org